We love being outside in the warm weather and enjoy a good walk or hike. Gilbert Lake State Park has been our “go to” for both. Brookside Inn at Laurens is the closest lodging option if you want to be near Gilbert Lake State Park without having to ‘rough it’ camping and still be able to quickly be in the park and enjoying yourself. The park has many many options for outdoors excitement, they even have a Frisbee Golf course. The lakeside beach and concession area has ample water activities, a large food selection, and clean bathrooms. It is considered one of the best in the entire NY State Park system. And then there are the trails…
Our favorite thing to do is hike. We have hiked up and down Yosemite Falls, all around Joshua Tree, and I proposed to my wife at the top of Amboy Crater. This post will walk you through (pun intended) both a surface street loop and a lake hike loop.
First off the surface street loop is a solid 2.1 miles. It takes about 40 minutes at a fair pace and has 2 solid inclines and declines. You can start this hike easily from any parking lot close to the lake. We normally start right when you get into the park at the first lot. The rest is simple, just keep the lake on your right side if going clockwise and left if going opposite direction. Do not make any sharp turns, simply follow the road. As the summer gets warmer and on weekends there may be several cars on the road, but with the 25MPH speed limit and careful drivers we have no qualms walking with the baby in stroller or carrier.
The trail system is fantastic with several options to choose from. We enjoy the hike to the upper lake area (Twin Fawn, Spring and Ice). The only thing to note is when there is a lot of rain there are parts of the trail that get a bit soggy. At one point by the backside of Twin Fawn and Ice Pond’s trail you may have to traverse right through a stream of water. The deepest we have seen so far is about 3 inches. Other than that the trails are clear cut and well blazed by the parks and recreation team. It would be almost impossible to get lost but do not forget to download (or pick up) a trail map. The trail maps at the ranger station also have distances marked. The elevation changes are at most 500 feet and this is only if you park at the first lot and go straight up from the lake towards (go figure) Hilltop Camp. We did not see any walkers on the way to hilltop and found it very safe.
Fuel up with some trail mix, bring plenty of water, and have at it!